Tennis

Andy Murray escapes qualify Taro Daniel at Indian Wells for 700th career win

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Andy Murray outlasted qualifier Taro Daniel 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 on Friday in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open for his 700th career victory.

« It does mean a lot to me because I know how difficult it’s been, certainly the last few years, » Murray said, referring to numerous injuries and a bout with COVID-19. « When you look at the players that have done it, most of the players that are up there and have won that many matches are certainly the best players of the last sort of 30, 40 years. »

Murray, who received a wild card into the desert tournament, twice came from behind in the nearly two-hour match. He overcame a 1-3 deficit in the third set, winning five of the final six games.

« There were points in the match where I did play pretty well, » Murray said. « But there’s also times in the match where it was poor. I really need to try and find that consistency. »

Murray broke Daniel to tie the set 3-all. The 34-year-old Scottish star led 40-love in the last game before closing it out on his third match point.

It was their third meeting this year. Ranked 106th, Daniel won at the Australian Open. Murray, who is 88th in the world, won in Doha last month.

Murray has never won the title at Indian Wells. His best finish came in 2009, when he lost to Rafael Nadal in the final. He was a semifinalist in 2007 and 2015, losing to Novak Djokovic both times.

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Emma Raducanu followed Murray on the stadium court 1 and beat Caroline Garcia 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. Murray has been supportive of the 19-year-old Brit who won the US Open last year.

They shared a fist bump when Murray exited the court and Raducanu was waiting to go on.

« It’s always like a weird one when you’re following someone who has just won, » she said. « You’re like, ‘I really want to do the same.’ It kind of gives you the extra fuel. I was really happy for him. »

In other women’s action, No. 3 Iga Swiatek beat Anhelina Kalinina 5-7, 6-0, 6-1. The first set featured seven combined service breaks. From there, Swiatek dropped just one game.

« At the beginning, I was too focused on the conditions, » Swiatek said on court after the match. « I was a little bit distracted by what was going on with the wind. I’m pretty happy that I could turn my hat on to fight mode and really stay focused because that was the key. »

No. 7 Karolina Pliskova served seven aces in losing to Danka Kovinic 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 in her season debut. Pliskova missed the first two months of the season with her arm in a cast from an offseason training injury.

Petra Martic beat No. 19 Tamara Zidansek 7-5, 7-6 (6). No. 24 Simona Halep and No. 26 Sorana Cirstea also won.

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